Mad Minute stories from Tuesday, September 12th - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Mad Minute stories from Tuesday, September 12th

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Mad Minute for 12/30/16 Mad Minute for 12/30/16

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Monkey see. Monkey sue. Monkey settle.
Attorneys representing a macaque monkey have agreed to a compromise in a case where they asserted the animal owned the copyright to selfie photos it had shot with a photographer's camera.
Under the deal, the photographer agreed to donate 25 percent of any future revenue from the images to charities dedicated to protecting crested macaques in Indonesia, said the lawyers from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals who filed the lawsuit.
Attorneys for the group and the photographer, David Slater, on Monday asked the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to dismiss the case and throw out a lower-court decision that said animals cannot own copyrights.
Andrew J. Dhuey, an attorney for Slater, declined to comment on how much money the photos have generated or whether Slater would keep all of the remaining 75 percent of future revenue.
"PETA and David Slater agree that this case raises important, cutting-edge issues about expanding legal rights for non-human animals, a goal that they both support, and they will continue their respective work to achieve this goal," Slater and PETA said in a joint statement.
There was no immediate ruling from the 9th Circuit on the dismissal.
PETA sued on behalf of the monkey in 2015, seeking financial control of the photographs for the benefit of the monkey named Naruto that snapped the photos with Slater's camera.
Lawyers for Slater argued that his company, Wildlife Personalities Ltd., owns worldwide commercial rights to the photos, including a now-famous selfie of the monkey's toothy grin.
The photos were taken during a 2011 trip to Sulawesi, Indonesia, with an unattended camera owned by Slater. Slater said the British copyright obtained for the photos by Wildlife Personalities should be honored worldwide.
U.S. District Judge William Orrick said in a ruling in favor of Slater last year that "while Congress and the president can extend the protection of law to animals as well as humans, there is no indication that they did so in the Copyright Act." The 9th Circuit was considering PETA's appeal.
The lawyers notified the appeals court on Aug. 4 that they were nearing a settlement and asked the judges not to rule. A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit heard oral arguments in the case in July.

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SEATTLE (AP) -- Seven bikini baristas and the owner of a chain of the coffee stands called "Hillbilly Hotties" sued the city of Everett, Washington, on Monday, saying two recently passed ordinances banning bare skin violate their right to free expression.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle, says the ordinances passed by the Everett City Council deny bikini-stand employees the ability to communicate through their attire, are vague and confusing, and unlawfully target women.
"Just like Starbucks with green aprons, UPS with brown trucks and outfits, and Hooter's with short-orange shorts, the baristas' attire evokes a message at work," the lawsuit says, adding that such messages include "freedom, empowerment, openness, acceptance, approachability, vulnerability and individuality."
One of Everett's new laws requires the workers to wear a minimum of tank tops and shorts. It specifically applies to employees at "quick service" restaurants, which also include fast food and food trucks.
The other redefined the city's lewd conduct ordinance and created a new crime of facilitating lewd conduct. Both ordinances took effect early this month.
The city cited "a proliferation of crimes of a sexual nature occurring at bikini barista stands throughout the city" in adopting the measures.
"Employees and owners of barista stands where this conduct occurs are making large sums of money from overtly sexual, lewd conduct, and prostitution," the city declared in one of the measures.
A spokeswoman said the city had no comment on the lawsuit.
Everett and Snohomish County, where it's located north of Seattle, have had a troubled history with the shops, which in some cases have operated as drive-thru strip clubs or even brothels. A former Snohomish County sheriff's sergeant pleaded guilty to helping launder money from a prostitution operation run out of some of roadside stands and was sentenced to one year in jail.
The proprietor of another chain, the Grab-N-Go espresso huts, was convicted of sexual exploitation of a minor after he employed a 16-year-old girl at his stands. Prosecutors said his business model relied on the baristas performing lewd shows.
But Jovanna Edge, who runs five Hillbilly Hotties stands, including two in Everett, said the city's new laws are unnecessary. A few years ago, she said, she gave Everett police permission to log in and view surveillance video of her stands so they can observe what's happening in real time.
"I don't want to hide anything from them," Edge said Monday. "Everybody needs to follow the rules, to not step out of the box and take their clothes off for people. That's a way to keep them honest."
Since the laws took effect, she said, "I have people who are threatening to quit because they're not making any money."
Among the allegations in the lawsuit is that the laws' definitions of what skin must be covered up are confusing. The dress code for baristas refers to the "upper and lower body," stomach, and back below the shoulder blades, among other areas.
"The length of a common woman's shirt is often short enough that stretching or bending would reveal part of her back or stomach," the lawsuit says.
The other measure bans "an exposure of more than one-half of the part of the female breast located below the top of the areola."
"To properly enforce the citywide ordinance, a police officer must determine the location of the 'top of a woman's areola,' which can only be seen by exposing the breast," the complaint says. "This would subject women to humiliating and offensive searches."
 
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- A group of Alaska teenagers has sent a petition to the state Department of Environmental Conservation in hopes of tightening climate change policy.
Alaska's Energy Desk reported Monday that the teens' petition calls for the state to reduce carbon emissions, monitor what greenhouse gasses it does emit and come up with a strategy for the future.
The group, named Alaska Youth for Environmental Action, delivered the petition in August. It follows a 2011 climate change lawsuit filed by a different group of Alaska teens, which made it all the way to the state Supreme Court before Justices ruled that it was a matter for the executive or legislative branch.
The state has until Sep. 29 to respond to the petition. Officials can reject it or call a public hearing.

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- Police say thieves have stolen an SUV and an attached U-Haul trailer - with a casket inside - outside an Albuquerque motel.
Albuquerque police say the heist occurred early Monday at a Residence Inn and the casket was later found not too far from the site it was taken.
Authorities say the casket contained the body of the victim's father-in-law.
The U-Haul was located after police searched for a black 2005 Chevy Trailblazer SUV with Oklahoma license plates.
Police said the deceased man's daughter and her husband were on their way from Oklahoma to Kirtland, New Mexico, to bury him.
No arrests have been made.

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LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Authorities say a woman stole a paramedic truck in Las Vegas and led pursuing police officers on a 50-mile (80-kilometer) freeway chase that reached California.
Media outlets reported that Clark County firefighters had parked the truck outside a pharmacy on Friday when the truck was stolen. The woman, whose identity wasn't released, ended the chase on Interstate 15 inside California, apparently realizing officers were going to use tire-puncturing spike strips to stop the vehicle.
Nevada officers had used spike strips that deflated at least two tires but didn't stop the truck.
Las Vegas police, Nevada Highway Patrol troopers and a police helicopter all tailed the ambulance during the chase. California troopers joined the pursuit at the state line.
No additional information was released.

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ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) -- Minnesota university is mixing the magical world of Harry Potter into philosophy teachings.
St. Cloud State University professor Carolyn Hartz is applying Aristotle's work on friendship to character relationships in J.K. Rowling's books about the boy wizard, the St. Cloud Times reported. The class discusses ethics, logic, love, the human soul and nature while examining the stories.
"These are fundamental human concerns," Hartz said. "Philosophy is, in my view, critical thinking about fundamental areas of human concern."
Rowling's stories provide understandable examples of philosophy concepts that can be difficult to comprehend, said Miles Nelson, a second-year university student who took the course last spring. He said the class also shows the depth in Rowling's work that many people may not have realized if they read the Harry Potter books when they were children.
Nelson said he was inspired to minor in philosophy after taking the course.
"This class really solidified how much I love thinking about hard problems and questions with hard answers," Nelson said.
Hartz's office is full of Harry Potter references, including a time turner necklace, a logic puzzle from the first book, and red stones that resemble the sorcerer's stone from the first book.
"Most of the students in the class are Harry Potter nerds. That's why they sign up for it," she said. "I tell them: 'You can bring your wands, but you can't use them on exams.'"
Hartz has considered teaching philosophy through other pieces of pop culture, such as video games or the HBO series, "Game of Thrones."
"Maybe next year it might help tide people over to the final season (of Game of Thrones)," she said.

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DENVILLE, N.J. (AP) -- Two women have delivered healthy babies on back-to-back days in the parking lot of the same Burger King restaurant in New Jersey.
Denville police say they were called to the restaurant Friday night for a woman going into labor. They say the parents were on the way to the hospital but got stuck in traffic and had to pull over.
Officers and emergency responders then helped the woman deliver a healthy son.
The same patrol officers went back to the restaurant the next night for a report of another woman going into labor. Authorities say the couple was heading to the hospital when the woman started going through severe contractions.
Officers helped deliver another baby boy in the couple's vehicle.

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LONDON (AP) -- British engineers say they have launched a "sewer war" against a giant fat blob clogging London's sewers.
Thames Water officials said Tuesday it is likely to take three weeks to dissolve the outsize fatberg.
They caution against expecting quick results as the fatberg is 250 yards long and weighs as much as 11 double-decker busses.
The unsavory blob consists of congealed wet wipes, diapers, fat and oil.
Thames Water's Matt Rimmer says the fatberg is "a total monster and taking a lot of manpower and machinery to remove as it's set hard."
He said the task is "basically like trying to break up concrete."
Eight workers are using high powered jet hoses to break up the blob before sucking it out into tankers for disposal at a recycling site.

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NEW YORK (AP) -- Some New York City foodies say a neighborhood pizza festival has left them with a bad taste in their mouths.
Prosecutors are looking into the New York City Pizza Festival after attendees fumed they paid $75 each to eat cold slivers of pizza in a parking lot in Brooklyn on Saturday.
The festival was promoted as a celebration of pizza. Attendees say on Facebook they instead got cold slices of pizza "smaller than a sample size," served with glasses of warm wine.
WNBC-TV reports Democratic state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (SHNEYE'-dur-muhn) is urging attendees to file complaints on his website. A spokesman says prosecutors opened an investigation Monday.
Festival organizer Ishmael Osekre says event producer Hangry Garden delayed the event. The event producer contends it was misled by the organizer and wasn't paid.

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WILLISTON, Vt. (AP) - A Vermont police department is asking for help identifying a suspect wearing a panda costume believed to have stolen an airsoft rifle from a sports store.
Williston police say the costumed suspect walked into the Dicks Sporting Goods at about 8:20 p.m. Monday, picked up the airsoft rifle and ran out of the store without paying for it.
Police responded, but were unable to locate the suspect.
Store employees told police the suspect had been in the store earlier Monday - sans panda outfit - and looked at the same rifle, but left without buying it. He told employees he'd be back to buy it.
Airsoft firearms shoot pellets and are usually powered by springs or compressed air.

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